In 1843 Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol which speaks to an identical issue we face today.
“This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want (Poverty). Beware them both… but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”
– The Spirit of Christmas Present speaking to Scrooge
Lack of education and poverty. Doom for an entire society and the wealthy who control it.
In the introductory notes by Katherine Kroeber Wiley in the Barnes & Noble Classics 2004 edition, she explains the facade of education for poor children offered in 1843.
“Like the treadmill and the Poor Laws, they really were little more than an attempt to get children off the streets. Anything resembling useful education or hope was barely visible at such schools. Dickens saw clearly that, under the guise of help, impoverished children were being written off as both unsaveable undeserving, mere brutes who need to be kept from sight of the middle class and turned into docile slaves of the mills and factories.”
“Dickens is uncompromising, not only in his portrayal of the degradations of poverty, but in his assertion that these disasters, Ignorance and Want, are the creations of human beings.” She further expresses Dickens’ insights, “Prisons and workhouses are not solutions; they do not address the real problems, the creation of Ignorance and Want (by a society) – they are mere containers.”
The Disney and other corporate entertainment versions of A Christmas Carol delete the true insights into Dickens’ parable. This is no accident of conversion from one medium to another; the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame has a happy ending with the malformed and deaf Quasimodo being hugged and welcomed into society. This high fructose corn syrup keeps reality out of the issues. Scrooge movies are equally off-base entertainment about a nasty old man redeemed just in time for the holidays. Bullfeathers, giggles and humbug.
Reality. If our present attitudes toward the polarization of wealth and the undeserving status of those who are not wealthy does not change, our American society faces doom.
Dickens knew that. You know that. Spread the word that we need to reclaim reform.